ViVE 2023 Revitalized Nashville’s Collaborative Healthcare Ecosystem and the Project Healthcare Program

By: Eric Thrailkill

After a successful first year conference in Miami Beach in early March of 2022, I had a hunch the organizers of ViVE would announce the second annual conference to be held in Nashville, my hometown, in 2023. Nashville knows three things really well – healthcare, music, and how to have a good time. At this intersection, ViVE “week” kicked off at the Music City Center surrounded by after-hours events showcasing our music heritage and healthcare knowledge. 

If you’re curious about the roots of ViVE, the purpose, and the backstory, I’m here to give you “the101”. 

The History of ViVE

After successfully launching “ecosystem events” in the financial services and retail industries (Money2020 and Shoptalk), Jonathan Weiner, a venture partner at Oak HC/FT, successful entrepreneur, and former Google executive, cast his sights on healthcare with the founding of HLTH approximately six years ago.  

A key component of the HLTH platform is an annual event – “an unprecedented, large-scale forum for collaboration across senior leaders from established payers, providers, employers, and pharma services, as well as from disruptive startups, prolific investors, representatives from government, academia, health associations, business groups, media, and industry analysts” – Essentially, the attendees are real change agents tackling the most significant industry challenges, leveraging modern tech, and following the patterns of innovation in other complex industries (financial services and retail). There have been five annual HLTH conferences – all in Las Vegas with a one year exception in Boston. However, something was missing…

A key voice of the industry,  CHiME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives), a 6,000-strong membership organization comprised of senior leaders in healthcare (think “Chiefs” and “Officers” of information, digital, data, medical informatics, operations, administrative services, nursing, medical – you get the picture) joined HLTH to create ViVE, an ecosystem gathered to address “the fresh, new way to think about the business of healthcare”.  This ecosystem (a series of complex networks) gathers to showcase solutions, build relationships, and work with the industry – not against it – to discuss and tackle the largest challenges. The team correctly identified Nashville as the PERFECT place for this annual gathering, and the city did not disappoint.

Inside the Arena – ViVE 2023 

I’ve attended well over 25 large scale conferences. Generally labeled as a “buyer” or a “seller” (industry incumbent or vendor), these events fell short of bringing together new innovation, working in concert, and exploring fresh ideas.  

In contrast, HLTH and ViVE event productions feature a show floor surrounded by “stages” where high profile panelists comprised of industry leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and government officials gather to ask the hard questions and provide innovative solutions for an industry that costs too much, falls short of consumer expectations, increasingly strains our clinical workforce, and produces subpar measurable health outcomes compared to other industrialized nations.  

ViVE Nashville had approximately 7,500 attendees over four days with thousands of one on one connections, meetings, small group events, panels, presentations, and podcasts.  The ecosystem was at work and on full display.

Participation from Project Healthcare showcased our innovation ecosystem of 21 exhibiting companies in our “Friends” pavilion and produced three intriguing panels covering mental health solutions, new care delivery models, and next generation primary care services. Project Healthcare brought together ViVE attendees to showcase the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and continue the conversation into the evening events.

Joined by a highly talented team from Project Healthcare and the support of our many partners and sponsors, we took full advantage of our “media presence” and joined leaders from various organizations across the country and the world to dive into the backgrounds, thinking, and plans of those leading the industry forward.  

Be sure to tune into these discussions on the Friends of Project Healthcare podcast featuring Micky Tripathi of the ONC, Liz Ashall-Payne of ORCHA, Taylor McPartland of ScaleHealth, Brenda Schmidt of Redesign Health, and Blake Madden of Hospitalogy – among many others.  

Meet Kyna Fong of Elation Health

To sum up what ViVE meant to me, an “industry veteran” spanning four decades (and still professing to only understand a small fraction of this complex industry), I learned from, was inspired by, and am rooting for Kyna Fong, Co-Founder (with brother Conan) and CEO of Elation Health. Full disclosure – Elation Health was one of five sponsors for the Unwind and ReViVE event (featuring The Magi) we held during the week – along with our friends from eVisit, Zus Health, Syllable,ai, and Clearwater.  

Kyna attended Harvard at age 16, graduated at 19 (Applied Mathematics) and continued her academic career with a PhD in Economics at Stanford.  She is a highly accomplished table tennis player with national and international experience and awards (I told Kyna I’d never refer to table tennis as “ping pong” again – and challenged her – think playing a set of tennis with Serena Williams – to a match at Pins Mechanical or Clyde’s upon her return to Nashville in the future) and a deep, personal knowledge of healthcare as a result of serving as her father’s (primary care physician) office administrator.  

Kyna Fong, CoFounder of Elation interviews with Project Healthcare Chairman, Eric Thrailkill

The story comes together after the HITECH Act provides the incentives and structure for the implementation of electronic health records and Kyna assisting her father with the selection of a certified EHR product. 

After performing due diligence, speaking with many physicians, and observing her father’s practice of clinical documentation, she concluded there was NOTHING that would adequately meet the needs of the practice and presto: she founded Elation Health with her brother.  

Fast forward a few years, and now Elation Health boasts over 30,000 providers using the cloud-based “clinical first primary care” solution with a simple, no-contract, fully transparent (we need more transparency, right?) pricing model. Elation Health has also formed partnerships (through the vital  innovation ecosystem) with solution providers such as Zus Health. This allows them to enhance the experience, reduce the burden, and ensure clinicians and their patients have access to the information necessary to improve health outcomes and simultaneously lower system cost. 

Elation Health has a deep, personal knowledge of the industry, a wicked-smart approach to clinical documentation, and a strategic partnership approach with other innovators to bring solutions to the industry.  Elation has partnered with Dock Health to reduce administrative burden, with Ribbon to streamline workflow associated with specialty referrals, and with CopperHill to reduce interoperability friction.  

Key Takeaways

For me, an “industry veteran”, the tactical and practical understanding of healthcare, combined with a modern tech stack, and a willingness to collaborate to eliminate data silos and reduce healthcare headaches displayed by Kyna, was truly informative, inspiring, and uplifting.  Together, we can improve health and healthcare for all with an ecosystem approach.

So, what was ViVE? It was an event, a gathering, a necessary conversation, a place to build partnerships, a space to create solutions that aren’t competing, but collaborating. It was the industry voice combined with the necessary participation from all stakeholders, wrapped up with hard work and optimistic entrepreneurs building the critical infrastructure to tackle the macro challenges.

My key takeaways:

  • The ecosystem is hard at work – and needs industry experts ALONGSIDE entrepreneurs to truly drive successful solutions
  • The “tech” generally works – it’s the healthcare business model that can be a bit tricky
  • Change is fast…..and slow – innovation is accelerating at breakneck speed, system-wide implementation of products and services takes time
  • Provider headwinds are fierce – the mandate to create an improved patient experience cannot be overlooked – dedicating time to both is critical  

I’ll be diving in on these details in future editions of this newsletter update and introducing companies – large and small – making a difference in each.

A long way to go?  Yes.  Progress and optimism?  Yes, most definitely.  Nashville’s 50 plus year legacy as “the capital” of healthcare innovation was, and remains, on full display, surrounded by an army of innovators working together to improve healthcare for all of us.  

Stay tuned for our conversations captured on the “Friends” podcast and join the Friends of Project Healthcare pavilion as we plan for HLTH (Las Vegas – October) and ViVE 2024 (LA – February).

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